LeBron James bid farewell to his “friends” President Barack Obama and family as their final hours in the White House wound down. In a video message posted to Uninterrupted, James’ social media platform for athletes, he said “you guys have been a true inspiration — not only to myself, to my family and my kids, but to everybody. “You guys have set the standard on ‘you can’,” James said.
“It’s sad to even think about you, you guys packing up and leaving the White House,” James said. “I remember the inauguration when you was going in, and it seemed like it was just yesterday. But you definitely left a place in history, you left a place in my life and my family’s life and, um, and all I can say is thank you.” James told Obama in the message to “enjoy retirement.”
Shane Battier (former NBA player): I remember getting the invitation to go to the President’s [49th] birthday party. Anytime you get a special email from the white house, you kind of hold your breath for a second. Like, What’d I do wrong? But when I opened up, it explained that the President was going to have a basketball birthday party, no different than my eight-year-old son. And I thought, “Wow, this is sort of like being invited to the cool dude table.” You always heard about the legendary pickup games, and I was a college teammate of Reggie Love, so I think he put in a good word for me. Marty Nesbitt: Everybody was there. Chris Paul, Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Grant Hill, Magic, Bill Russell, Kobe.
Shane Battier: We went through security, and then we got in cars and vans on the grounds and went over to the naval base where the game was going to be held. And that was probably the most exciting part: We got these Navy SEALS driving us—I think it was Alonzo Mourning and Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul—and they were doing offensive driving with us in the back, ripping through turns. Judging by all the security and the car it took to get there, it was probably the safest place we could have been in the entire world. There’s a code when you’re shooting around with a bunch of guys, getting ready for a game. They talk a little differently, they walk a little differently. Especially at the NBA level. I don’t know how to explain it, but that’s what I was most impressed with about the President. He fit right in. I think that’s maybe one of the most defining attributes of his eight years. He could talk to really any group. He could make you feel like he was one of you.
Chris Paul (Guard, Los Angeles Clippers): I was shocked at how good he was. Nice lefty jump shot. But he got lucky one time on the break. I sort of jumped out, made him guess which way to go and he made the right play, crossed over, made it look like he crossed me up. It’ll never happen again. Hopefully now that he’s out of office we’ll have some time to see if it was real.
David Axelrod: [The President] ticked off Joakim Noah because the president was trash-talking him about his shot, [which is], shall we say, unorthodox. The president said, “Where’d you get that shot? That’s the ugliest shot I’ve ever seen.” So at some point, Noah decided, “Okay, let’s see about yours.” And he completely smothered the President. I mean he was guarding him and the President could not go anywhere. But I will say that with all of that, somehow playing against all these NBA players, he mysteriously was able to hit the winning shot.